The goal of Men’s Health Month is to bring awareness to preventable disease and encourage early intervention of any problems that have arisen. Many men avoid confronting their own health issues, and for a number of possible reasons:
- don’t want to be told what to do
- they already know what’s best for themselves
- feeling of giving in, or weak, less masculine
While these are largely due to letting the ego get in the way (though not all men fit the stereotype) there are also a number of other excuses that can be used to talk oneself out of a trip to see a medical professional.
A general physical should be performed every 3 years for men aged 20-39, every 2 years for men aged 40-49 & yearly for those older. Even if there is nothing wrong now, regular baseline readings such as these will be beneficial for a doctor to be able to look back at in your records if something does arise down the road. Baseline numbers are important for your heart, bone density and many other readings. Many ailments (such as anemia!) can have vague symptoms or can slowly become part of ‘your normal’ and would not warrant symptoms worth a trip to the doctor. However the root of the symptoms could be causing long term damage within the body. High or low blood pressure can easily go undetected as well if not checked regularly, and can do damage to the cardiovascular system as well as the rest of the body. Colonoscopy & prostate exams are very important to have done yearly after the age of 50 (or sooner if you have a family history). These can often be prevented through regular screening, a healthy diet & an active lifestyle.
Self exams are another fantastic screening technique that one can do in the privacy of their own home: no appointment, equipment, or office needed. Learning how to look for lumps in the testicles, breasts (men can get breast cancer too!) and irregularities on the skin is the most effective way to catch one of these cancers before they worsen.
This body is the only place you have to live in this lifetime; it’s in one’s best interest to take care of it! Talk to a man in your life about their health today- you could help save a life!